Posts Tagged ‘Vaughan Rd’

There is no theme to this blog post.  It’s just a description of some of the things that I saw as I walked down Bathurst Street the other day after taking the 512 streetcar to St. Clair West station.   In a lot of ways its like other busy Toronto streets, some houses, a few corner stores, and an alley or two along the way.   A little bit of architecture and a little bit of history round out the story.

At St. Clair West and Bathurst, the northeast corner remains vacant. About four or five years ago there was a gas station and car wash on this corner.  St. Clair West subway station is just to the east, just beyond the trees on the right hand side.

northeast corner of Bathurst and St. Clair West, vacant lot, St. Michaels College in the background as well as a couple of highrise condos.

below: I went looking for an old photo of this corner and this is what I found.  It’s from 1924.  If the streetcar’s destination is Caledonia, then it is going westward.  In 1924, St. Clair was the northern edge of the city and very little development had occurred here.  It is interesting to note that the streetcar tracks came first, then the development.   In addition, I’d love to be able to read the sign about dogs but the resolution of the photo is not good enough.  An ad?  A sign saying no dogs allowed?  Or something else?

vintage black and white photo from 1924 of a streetcar on the St. Clair line stopped at Bathurst to pick up passengers.

below: Of course, no vacant lot remains that way for long.   At the moment, three 30 storey towers joined with a 6 or 7 storey podium has been proposed for the site but it is still in the re-zoning and planning stages.  The light brown building to the left is St. Michael’s College School (boys school).

blue and white city of Toronto development notice sign on a small hill, by some trees, in front of a vacant lot. Highrises in the background

below: New development on the southeast corner of this intersection is almost complete. People have moved into the units above while the finishing touches are put on the lower retail floors. Developments like this are all over the city. Developments that look great (maybe?) on paper but are lackluster and banal at street level.

street level of a new glass and steel building, empty retail space available for lease, just finishing being built

below: As I walked south on Bathurst, this mural caught my eye.

mural in a laneway, painting of many trees with red and yellow sky, dark brown earth, and a few small black figures, some words beside it

Words written beside the mural:
“Long before concrete and steel
Punctuated the landscape
The land was pure and natural
This mural acknowledges and honors 13 trees and 21 medicinal plants that have thrived here since time immemorial.”

The mural was funded by Toronto’s Start program (street art) and Na’Ma’Res Sagatay, a residence for indigenous men that is nearby.

close up of mural, large trees with wavy red and yellow sky, small black figures standing under the trees

I will admit that the main reason that I was walking in this area is because I wanted to check out the new public artwork that I’ve read about at Bathurst and Vaughan.  It is “Three Points Where Two Lines Meet” by Christian Giroux and Daniel Young and apparently there is some controversy about it.

below: For those who don’t know that intersection, it is V-shaped.  This photo shows the approach to  the intersection from the north, on Vaughan.  I took this photo because my first reaction to the scene was “Ugly.  Ugly is what Toronto does”.  From this angle the sculpture gets lost in the visual noise.

sidewalk, lined by tall hydro utility poles, wood, road, some buildings, approaching the intersection of Bathurst and Vaughan

Cities have rules and regulations for public art. It needs to be weatherproof and graffiti-proof.  It can’t block the view of drivers and pedestrians.  No sharp edges or structures that people might hurt themselves on – note the two black poles are to prevent people from hitting their heads.

A woman walks past Three Points Where Two Lines meet

From Giroux & Young’s website:  “Taking its form from the orphaned triangular site on which it sits, this artwork produces a new urban room by combining a multicoloured truss structure, the triangular plot of wild grasses it encloses, and an encircling sidewalk thats acts as a podium and plinth. Located between the converging energies of uptown and downtown, the structure densifies an intersection already clotted with utilities and challenges established forms of urbanism and spatial representation in Toronto.”  Think of that what you will.  While you’re thinking, you can check the website for more photos and information.

Three Points Where Tao Lines meet, a public art sculpture in bright colours, metal grid like construction cranes, by Daniel Young and Christian Giroux at the intersection of Bathurst and Vaughan.

below: An interesting (unique?) roofline on what turns out to be The Occult Shop.  I made one mistake – I neglected to cross the street to go inside and find out just what one can buy here.

brick building with a large rounded roofline, the bulding is a semi, one half has doors and windows covered with white from the inside, the other is the occult shop

below: These people can still be seen in the space above the doorway at 1358 Bathurst.

the space above a doorway at number 1358 Bathurst is painted with pictures of people (head and shoulders) in shades of brown

Continuing south on Bathurst, as you go downhill towards Davenport Road, there is a retaining wall beside the sidewalk on the west side.  This wall was painted back in October 2013.  The city paid $23,000 to two Brooklyn NY street artists (Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller, together known as Faile) who designed the mural and in turn paid other artists to paint it.

The mural is quite long and I only have a few pictures of bits and pieces of it.

mural, large blue and white owl, with words in large letters that say no change my heart

mural, large painting of a blond boy sleeping, head on pillow, head and shoulders only

mural, by faile, orange car, woman driver, the word vanity written on the side of the car

below: Apparently Davenport Road is considered to be one of Toronto’s oldest roads.  It follows the base of a ridge and provided a route between the Humber River in the west and the Don River in the east.

toronto historical society plaque for Davenport Road, 1995, description of the history of Davenport Road

below: There is a park on the northwest corner of Bathurst and Davenport, The Tollkeeper’s Park.  The old house, the Tollkeeper’s Cottage, is now a museum run by The Community History Project.  It is open on Saturday afternoons (and some Sundays during the summer)

The Tollkeeper's Park, sign, green space, trees, and an old small wood frame house, now a museum,

below: And across the road is Tollkeeper’s Lane.  There are chairs everywhere in this city not usually as comfy looking as these.

two comfy chairs in an alley withtheir backs agains a grey garage door

below: An old Comet parked in the alley

a yellowish beige Comet car, old, parked behind a house in a lane

below: Tomatoes and other vegetables growing in a front yard.

small front yard packed full of vegetable plants looking very green and healthy

below: A hand, part of an Elicser mural.  This mural, which is on both sides of the railway underpass just north of Dupont, is still there.  Photos can be seen in a blog post from Nov 2014 (Yikes!  Have I been blogging that long?!).

part of a mural, a blue hand horizontal on a wall with some weeds growing in front of it

There are a few remnants of a more industrial past in the area near the railway tracks.

a window consisting of 18 panes of glass, 6 across and 3 down, some have texture and some are clear. the clear ones are reflecting the blue sky and clouds.

old wood door, once painted green but the paint is peeling

below: Another door –  I doubt that it’s open now, or that it ever will be again.

back door of an empty house, window boarded over, door with board nailed across it, open sign in the window, also a sign that says beware of dog

below: These windows, and the house too, probably won’t be here much longer either.

green trim around roof and windows of an old house

below: A very standard row of semi-divided houses; a common sight.  Hundreds (thousands?) of these were built around the city.

a semi divided house on bathurst street, two storey, bay windows on upper floor, porches, stairs to front door

below: And a not so usual semi.

a semi divided house on bathurst street where one side has been rebuilt into a taller square structure

below: A touch of art deco.

two doors side by side with art deco motifs, on a low rise brick building

below: Slight larger houses, with turrets even!  (or is there another name for this architectural element?)

a semi divided house on bathurst street both with small turrets above upper floor bay windows

below: This is part of Coopers Hawk Lane which is just south of Dupont.

buildings and garages in a lane, Coopers Hawk Lane, garage doors have street art on them.

painting of a wooden box with papers in it, pictures of people on the papers

below: In another nearby alley …. a pink cat eating ice cream

two doors in an alley, painted, one in colours, the other in black and white

below: And a gate with a frame, and the laundry beyond.

a chainlink fence and gate in a back yard, laundry hanging out to dry in the yard, brick houses, some green grass

red octagonal stop sign with a sticker on it that says take a breath

 

This post is the result of a very wobbly and random circular walk around part of the Wychwood Heights neighbourhood last weekend.   A hodge podge of this and that.

below: The intersection of St. Clair West and Vaughan Road circa 1912

Historical black and white photo of a two sorey brick building at an intersection of two dirt roads.

below: I didn’t quite recreate the picture above but it is still obvious that the brick building is still standing after just over 100 years but that every thing around it has changed.

Two storey brick building, now Hakim Optical on the corner of an intersection.

below: Just to the north,  78 Vaughan Road…. didn’t this store used to be an ice cream place?

empty store front at 78 Vaughan Road, empty on one side a closed tattoo parlour on the other.

below:  Ah yes, there is still remnants of ice cream cones above the window so my memory is correct.
I wonder what happened to it?

side of a brick building that used to be an ice cream store. Painted red with some white parts, front has been removed from lighted signs, exterior decorations have been removed except a faint outline of ice cream shapes remain above the window.

There are a number of alleys to the north and west of the intersection of St. Clair and Vaughan Road.  Most of them are quite tidy and well looked after.   They were also full of surprises, bright little things that put on a smile on your face on a December afternoon.

below: Like little pictures painted on canvas….

A small canvas painted turquoise and the words say hello written in small red letters, attached to a fence in a lane

A small canvas painted red and a small yellow heart painted in the middle. The words say hello are painted on it too but they are harder to see. It is nailed to an old wood fence

A small landscape painted on canvas and attached to a telephone pole in an alley

below: and painted on wood

a two tone pink fish painted on wood, cut out, and nailed to a wood fence.

below: or painted directly on poles.

On a wood telephone pole, a small bird painted in white, black and blue.

below: There was a fence made of old wood doors

an old picket fence that is falling aoart, and a fence made of doors that is behind it.

close up of old picket fence that is falling aoart, and a fence made of doors that is behind it.

below:  There was a great creature with googly eyes and a rectangular orange nose.

Two big googly eyes attached to a telephone pole

below: And of course there were some painted garage doors.

street art on garage doors, musical instruments covering two garages, a guitar, a trombone, also the words sweet sweet music everywhere

below: These garage doors are a sample of the more than 40 doors that have been painted as part of the Kenwood Lanway Art Initiative.

painting on a garage door of a moose at sunset

painting on a bright blue garage door of the Toronto skyline with a large Canadian flag behind ithe skyline

While walking on the streets in the neighbourhood I saw a couple of little houses

little narrow white bungalow with a yellow front door set back from the road. There is a straight walkway from the sidewalk to the door, and there is a lot of shrubery in the front yard especially near the sidewalk.

as well as larger buildings with intricate architectural details.

below:  A checkerboard effect with the bricks on the La Salle Apartments.  As an aside, the small bush in front of the building was in the picture no matter what angle I tried.  It was a lilac bush and I am sure that there were buds on it.

Part of a low rise apartment building, over the door, no windows. Checkerboard pattern in the bricks. The words La Salle Apts in large white letters across the bottom of the picture.

below: A little fake balcony with a white post railing on a low rise apartment building.

A white framed window in a red brick building. Below the window are a few white pieces of wood that look like a balcony railing even though there is no balcony there.

below: A line of little arches across the roofline is echoed in the larger arch patterns over the windows.  There is a small relief sculpture near the top corner of the building (slightly behind the tree) but I can’t tell what’s on it.  A coat of arms maybe?

brick pattern across the top of a building. scalloped, or looking like little arches to match the larger arches over the windows.

below:  There were quite a few four storey brick apartment buildings that looked like they were built in the 1920’s and 1930’s.  Perhaps there was a  little ‘condo boom’ at the time?

4 storey apartment building on Vaughan Road, red brick with white upper storey, diamond shaped details, two little peaked roofs over windows.

four storey apartment on a corner

front door and front of building, four storey apartment building in red brick with stone window and door frames.

 

Two four storey apartment complexes and a single family home on Vaughan Road.

below:  Like the condos of today, many of the buildings had names such as Maple Villa

Stone door frame and entranceway to Maple Villa, a brick low rise apartment complex

and Maplewood

stonework over the door of the Maplewood apartments at 172 Vaughan road, and the art deco like decorations beside it.

below:   The backs of all those apartment complexes are nearly as interesting as the fronts.
This is one of the only construction sites I saw although….

vacant lot with a number of low rise brick apartment buildings in the background.

… this Presbyterian church looks like it is about to be redeveloped.  It is one of three churches at the corner of St. Clair and Wychwood.   The church was built in 1926.  There is a brief description of the property on the Stanton Renaissance website but very little information is given beyond a “transformation” of the church and the creation of “high end residential boutique”.

An old brick church at a corner. It is now empty. There is a large sign in front of it advertising Stanton developments.

below: Mural for Sea With Fish and Chips on St. Clair West

mural for Sea Witch FIsh and Chips restaurant, a large sea serpent

A little yellow sticker on a bank night deposit box, looks like a little smiling creature looking over the sign that says contains no cash or negotiables, except that the word no has been scratched out

below: As I circled back the intersection of Vaughan Road and St. Clair West, I spotted a large doubledecker strawberry and vanilla ice cream cone on the side of Dutch Dreams.  Hey!  The answer to my question.  The ice cream place from 78 Vaughan Road has moved a couple of blocks south, complete with it’s collection painted old fashioned milk cans.

A very large plastic icce cream cone, double scoop, strawberry on the bottom and vanilla on the top, decorating a brick building. The shutters on the windows of the building are green, red and white

bright yellow entranceway, a line of different coloured milk cans along the exterior wall, sign says Dutch Dreams, candy and ice cream.

below:  One last picture.  As I waited for the Bathurst bus, I found myself standing across the street from this building.   The curve of the roofline is interesting, but even more interesting is the the fact that there is an occult store in Toronto.  Candles, herbs, incense, jewelry, I’m now wishing that I had crossed the street to investigate further!   And, smile, the store next to it is Pandora’s salon.  Pandora, the one who in ancient times opened a box and unleashed all sorts of evil on the world.

 

store front, one is an Occult Store, in an old brick building with a curved roofline over the middle of it.